I'm writing about TCU college football not because I'm a big fan of theirs and not because I think they're the best college team in the game today. I'm not spiritually inspired by a team affiliated with the Disciples of Christ (Texas Christian University) and the color purple hasn't moved me since the singing artist Prince did the movie Purple Rain in 1984.
No, I'm writing about TCU football because they have one of the most ugly, yet unique mascots in sports; the Horned Frog. The horned frog, or toad as some call it, refers to the Texas Horned Lizard, a spikey-bodied reptile that is not a frog at all. Its fierce appearance makes it ideal as a tough team mascot, though in reality its of small size (fits in the palm of a hand) and docile demeanor. The prehistoric looking critter could fit right in with monsters from a Godzilla movie if you super-sized it, as most monster movies do.
There have been some strangely named mascots in the history of sports, but I have to admit that this one caught my attention. First time I'd heard of the TCU Horned Frogs was in 2011 when they won the Rose Bowl. If the lizard is as relentless as the football team was that day, then its no creature to be taken lightly. Here's what's written in wikipedia about the lizard's defense mechanisms:
Although its coloration generally serves as camouflage against predation, when threatened by a predator, a horned lizard will puff up and become very fat, which causes its body scales to protrude, making it difficult to swallow. The Texas horned lizard, along with at least three other species of the genus Phrynosoma, also has the ability to squirt an aimed stream of blood from the corners of the eyes and sometimes from its mouth for a distance of up to 5 ft (1.5 m). This not only confuses would-be predators, but also the blood is mixed with a chemical that is foul-tasting to canine predators such as wolves, coyotes, and domestic dogs. The blood can destroy habitats, and is very effective in defense.
Back to football. The 2014 TCU squad find themselves ranked #4 and in the inaugural college football playoff picture. There's more football to be played, but I plan on keeping an eye on this TCU team as they try making history by qualifying and winning the first college football playoff tournament. I suspect they'll be puffing up to ward off would-be predators these next few weeks. GoFrogs!